But no fresh fruits and vegetables

Cutting board of wholesome foodSally Peck in her post The Slaughtered Lamb tells us about purchasing food in London with a very little cash.

She points to Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, a report by a fellow journalist who “joins the millions of Americans working for minimum wage and describes her experience. Her income barely covers survival, she nearly ends up in a shelter, and she applies for government food aid, which ends up including things like candy bars but no fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Good ol’ government of error!

It’s not only government food programs for the poor where we are failing. While eagerly pilfering pay checks, the marketplace is failing as well. Several studies show much lower quality food is put on sale in lower income regions – and often sold at at higher prices than folks pay in wealthier regions.

We may invest more for outlets selling costly food than wholesome food. Guiding farmers from the helm of the city of New York, candidate Rudolph Giuliani has made this an issue in the past. Clinton’s Agriculture Secretary has made this an issue, saying that too many neighborhoods pay more for lower quality food.

The quality, variety and cost of our food supply is a persistent signature of our social growth, and our shortcomings. In the long view, I know we are most often improving our human lot, but there are many haunting errors.

Several studies show much lower quality foodstuffs are put on sale in lower income regions. There are tremendous improvements and for much to be grateful, but our producers and vendors can easily neglect providing quality and price for most of us and the poor of us

It surprises me always while scouring a retail store for nourishing food only and good price only. Were these the only food category, the store might be ninety percent smaller! If we were to replace products that entice and profiteer with only products of top value and mere goodness, excess shelf space might cause a national commercial land crash.

We can be distracted. Our efforts are drawn to entertain our profitable customers, today’s plutocracy, leaving a great number of folks gathering not the bacon but the drippings under the so-called ‘wealth effect’.

The last decades seem writ for the elite – more wine than grapes. I think we lose our purpose when we rely too much on doing too much for fashion and cash rather than for the prosperity of the entire community.

It’s a better day when we celebrate better living: better peaches, better apples, better berries… and always better prices to us all.

In the 1970s, I co-founded a food purchasing cooperative – a “food conspiracy” in Marin County – that organized community volunteers to discover regional farms and top quality producers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I quickly learned what we were not getting in our local supermarkets. These days, the local food movement is a growth sector, as it must be, although we must be aware that local food may not be either the highest quality or the most ecologically produced.